November 26, 2008

Would you pay to send your luggage ahead?

So I am still on the fence here about this topic that is gaining ground for domestic and international travel, the issue of baggage and US airlines looking for revenue by charging for luggage. Recently the Wall Street Journal even had a story about the cost to fly your luggage.

I'm still undecided about this because I have experienced charges for checked bags in Europe for years now. It wasn't terribly expensive and it only encouraged me to pack light. I also understood that the smaller the plane, the smaller the compartments. Also Americans were known for being larger and therefore carried more stuff because we were consumers.

I have also have lived in Japan where they are pros when it comes to packing and shipping anything domestically. When we skied it was common practice to ship your ski equipment ahead to the hotel. When you bought a big piece of furniture such as a tansu chest (Japanese chest of drawers) or a big recliner massage chair, they automatically offered to deliver and set it up at your home.
Of course it cost, but it was never unreasonable and the freedom it gave you to either just get on your train or get in your car and go to the resort, or go home and know that your furniture would arrive the next day was incredible. I got used it quickly.

The concept being discussed now is familiar but in the US, I am not so confident we are there yet. When you check into a hotel, do you really feel confident that the staff will accept the luggage of someone they have never met, don't know because they are not famous and have had eight years of a president telling them to fear domestic terrorism?
When you check your luggage do you really feel you are getting value for your airfare?

I say if you really want to use a delivery service such as Sports Express to ship your skis or golf clubs, then do it. This increase in fees from the airlines stinks to me and looks like they are dressing up something that is simply another way to make up for the fact that they are running inefficient operations. What do you think?

Photo credit to geisha boy

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